Imminent Domain: Bees United Two Exhibition Designers

HONG KONG, April 18, 2013 - A swarm of bees created a rare opportunity for two designers to collaborate at Asia Society Hong Kong Center's recent exhibition Imminent Domain: Designing the Life of Tomorrow.

In early March, a staffer at the Center spotted a beehive forming on one of the exhibits - Bamboo Wind Pavilion by architect William Lim. The exhibit was one of the most noticeable pieces as it stood tall on the footbridge of the Center, and can be spotted miles away with its bright red feature. While it may cause a stir at the Center for some, the gallery team and facilities team of the Center put their heads together to resolve the situation without harming any lives.

We decided to turn to one of the local beekeepers in Hong Kong, Michael Leung, who is also a designer and a participant in the Imminent Domain exhibit.

“Don’t kill the bees! I can come collect them,” said Leung without hesitation on the phone, creator of HK Salt at Imminent Domain.

“Actually, you can just light joss sticks and the smoke will send [the bees] them away,” he added.

Surely enough, this method worked. The next day he arrived with joss sticks and the bees jumped towards him and dropped to the ground. Gallery team’s Mandy Shek witnessed the bee rescue, but only through halfway upon the bees’ approach to Leung, she took sanctuary indoors.

Shek reported all the bees were gone when she returned to the scene. Leung had intended to collect the bees in a prepared bag by catching the queen bee, hoping the rest of the bees would follow. According to another eyewitness, the queen bee slipped out of Leung’s hand. The colony of bees followed, swirled around like a dark cloud of plague, and into the woods next to the Center.

While Leung was disappointed about losing the bees, William Lim was rather impressed with the bees’ choice to choose his exhibit as their new home.

Leung emphasized the importance of saving the bees instead of killing them by pointing out 70% of the world’s vegetation will disappear following the extinction of honeybees within a few years’ time.

Asia Society Hong Kong Center’s Mandy Shek contributed to this article.